Last week, I took my 5 year old to his first soccer practice of the season.
He ran excitedly out on the field, listened to his coach, instantly made new friends, and raced down the field, dribbling the ball with ease.
I sat in my comfy chair and watched, totally relaxed.
We knew the coach, as he was the same coach my middle son had two years ago, when he was playing U6 ball.
The drills and games were familiar.
But the feeling of ease was not.
Two years ago, when Bear was on this team, playing with other 5 year olds, it was pretty rough going.
He wanted to be there, he asked to play soccer.
But it was hard for him to focus.
He’d get easily upset over small things.
And then more upset over the fact that he was upset.
I couldn’t be that mom sitting back in her chair, watching practice, chatting with other soccer moms, maybe occasionally glancing at her phone, and there was no way I could go make a quick dash to the van for something I’d forgotten or heaven forbid, use the restroom.
Instead, I had to keep my eyes on my son at all times.
And endure the other soccer moms staring at him and not-so-subtly pointing him out to other moms. Some of them asking what was wrong with him.
Sometimes I had to step in if he got himself too worked up to participate.
Even on the good days, I still held my breath, waiting to see how long it would last.
We thought about pulling him out of soccer, but he still wanted to be there.
And he actually was a good little player.
But it was exhausting and stressful and when practice would be canceled due to rain, I’d breath a sigh of relief.
Soccer has gotten so very much easier since Bear started medication for his ADHD. Hell, school and everything else has gotten easier for him, too. And my anxiety level has gone down.
But as I watched my Cub having such an easy time of it at soccer, I felt a huge wave of mom guilt.
Why couldn’t things be that easy all the time for Bear, too?
Why couldn’t he have been the 5 year old that people were pointing out because he’s just so stinking cute instead of because they are wondering what was wrong with him?
It’s just not fair.
Though where the guilt really hit me was in how I felt.
Because I felt this sweeping feeling of relief watching Cub’s practice.
It all just felt so easy.
More enjoyable than it ever felt sitting on the sidelines at Bear’s soccer practice two years ago.
As the differences hit me, I went from watching practice with a smile on my face to having to fight back tears.
I don’t have a way to tie up my thoughts with a pretty bow, some sort of great lesson learned or way that I got past these feelings.
The one thing I know is that I love all my boys, no matter what. But not every parenting moment can be wrapped up with a pretty bow or an have an easy answer.
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